Saturday, March 29, 2008

Guess What!

I got a job! Yes, I just completed my third week at Streets Ministries and i LOVE it! Can you believe it?? I am the Development Coordinator which means that I am the Grant Writer/Volunteer Coordinator. I write people for money while still being an extrovert, speaking to Sunday schools, churches, and other gatherings(eventually) to recruit volunteers and then I train and place them.

Streets is a ministry for underprivelaged Memphis kids living in the Foote and Cleaborn homes (the downtown housing projects), which make up the zip code 38126--the third poorest in the U.S. We have a 4.2 million dollar facility in which there is a gym, computer lab, multi-purpose "club" room, playstation room, etc. The kids come in after school and have a safe place to chill while also being encouraged to take advantage of the amazing programs. Seriously, they're amazing. We have "clubs," tournaments, parties, tutors, etc. but my favorite is Pathways. Pathways is one of the programs that I will be recruiting for. It is where an adult (college aged or older, seems like empty nesters are the best) is paired with a student (7-12 grade) whose GPA is a 2.5 or higher. The goal is to pair them up while the student is in 7th grade and the requirement is a 1 hour tutoring session per week. The goal of this program is to build a long term relationship between the two. For example, there was a girl who began this program 15 years ago as a 7th grader and was paired with a 23 year old. They began their relationship as tutor/tutored and it developed into the mentor buying clothes for the girl to have her first interview, joining her and her husband on family vacations, helping her get into college, moving her into the dorm, being at college graduation, etc. Eventually this girl went on to get her masters in social work and now works as a social worker back in the middle school that she went to, and the middle school that Streets ministers to. AMAZING! I was able to meet with this gal last week and hear her!

The projects are such a mess, the politics are insane, the morals engrained into the culture are horrid (try having hardly any fathers in a neigborhood), the gangs are violent, the families are falling apart or non-existant and God is in the middle of this! I have learned so much from these kids and the indigenous staff already. It is so humbling. I called my mom crying the first week, thanking her for reading to me as a kid.....I feel like such a brat watching these kids who have nothing hold their heads high without whining.

I'm sure I'll be telling more stories along the way, but know that I am being knocked on my butt again by God and this Jesus who was knocked to death so He and I could have a wedding one day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Olive Branch Treehouse

I know that I have been bad at updating lately. Ash came in town and now Mom gets here tonight. I am so excited. I know that I need to tell you about my job. And I will, but first, here are some pictures of my life here!

Here is our treehouse. Yes, the whole thing! A picture of Jed's mom's awesome quilt.
Our kitchen.
The vase Minnie got for me in Peru. My grandmother still goes on mission trips.

My bowl that Mom and Dad gave me for Christmas. I LOVE it!

I took this old window that I got in Bay St. Louis (left from Katrina), and I stapled chicken wire to it in order to finally make an adequate jewlery holder.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More of the trip to the Burg

Annie Earlsie....I love this beautiful woman who came to see us even though she was sick :(
Really bright, I know! But still...there we are.

Typical girl kissy faces.....they are a must-take pic for women for some reason :)

Our favorite style embellishment of the evening...Laura's cute hat.

Rachael is quite the latin dancer and showed us some of her moves!

More again later....I'm running out of time....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Trip to VA

So yes, once again, the dumb pics post in a ridiculous order! The story is below them and I will post another blog of pics.

YES! I am finally working. I promise to update everyone on that (and it's wonderful, by the way). But since I love organization-I must tell all about what's happened since I last updated.
We went to Virginia! I have missed Lynchburg like you could not imagine and while we were there we were able to see SO many people. Thursday we caught up with the Andersons, the Webbs, some people at LU, Wes and Hill, Jackie, Debbie Bennetch (my mentor there for those who do not know this wonderful woman...I wanna be like her when I grow up), my wonderful Sarah Gahagan and more that I'm forgetting. Friday I had b-fast w/one of my best pals, Kelli, oh, and Bees-her daughter whom I love-and went to the J.Crew outlet. I also hung out at the Webbs some more-whose gorgeous (I mean, for real!) home we stayed in and whose friendship so graciously allowed us to impose because they had JUST moved in a few days before, now THAT'S a friend. Fri. night. we had dinner with the Webbs and Ankeneys and went to the Johnson's for a partay with our girl and guy groups! It was so much fun and we stayed up incredibly late. All the kids went down upstairs and it was so good to see everyone and to catch up! Saturday we had a lunch at the Trivits and Saturday night I went out for drinks and a bit of dancing with Kelli, Rachael, Laura, and Renee at Bullbranch--one of my fave undergrounds spots in the Burg. Man was that fun. Thus, the pictures! Sunday morning, we went to Redeemer and it made us miss that church. We were able to catch up with everyone and of course, hit up some Osaka, our favorite Japanese fast food, for some lunch before we left. I did NOT want to pull away from there. I am so thankful for our friends and I miss them so bad it sometimes hurts.